Denzel Washington has been in the news quite a lot lately. He has been in the process of promoting his newest film, The Tragedy of Macbeth, written and directed by Joel Coen of the legendary Coen brothers. The film is based on the famous Macbeth play by William Shakespeare. Denzel plays the character of Lord Macbeth.
He is joined on the cast by Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, as well as Corey Hawkins, among others. As part of this promotional media tour, Denzel made an appearance on CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in December last year.
The seasoned actor has enjoyed decades of a very successful career, which has helped him accrue a net worth of about $280 million.
Sadly, though, he lost his mother in June last year, and his conversation with Colbert gravitated towards that subject matter. It left him very emotional as he remembered his late mom, a moment which consequently caused fans of Denzel and of the show to be quite emotional themselves.
Denzel Washington Believes That A Mother Is A Son’s First True Love
The conversation between Colbert and Denzel covered many areas, including a moment when the host recited a whole Shakespeare piece for his very impressed guest. In one particular segment of the interview, he took the opportunity to offer his condolences to the actor on the still-recent loss of his mother.
It was at this point that Denzel paid a tearful tribute to the late Lennis ‘Lynne’ Washington, by saying, “A mother is a son’s first true love. A son… Especially their first son is a mother’s last true love.” He then capped the moment by proclaiming “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” excerpt out of a soliloquy of the same title from Macbeth.
‘She should have died hereafter,’ the monologue goes. ‘There would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time.’
It was a rather timely tribute from Denzel, whose character famously utters the words to signify his sense of the emptiness of life and time, following the death of his wife.
Denzel ‘Did Not Cry At His Mother’s Funeral’
Colbert also dug out a photo of Denzel and his mother as well as his wife, Pauletta at the 1990 Academy Awards ceremony. The Hollywood star had just won the first of his two Oscars, that night for Best Supporting Actor after his performance in Edward Zwick’s Glory.
Looking at the photo and wiping tears off his face, the actor observed that he had not cried at the funeral. When Colbert asked him why this was the case, Denzel simply quipped, “I don’t know… I guess I saved it up for you!”
The host had another photo, this time of a very young Denzel as Brutus Jones in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones during his junior year at Fordham University. “This guy his confidence right here,” Colbert observed. “Sigmund Freud – who had his faults – said that a son who believes himself to be his mother’s favorite, has a lifelong confidence that nothing can shake.”
“Wow. I don’t know if I was her favorite,” Denzel retorted. “I gave her the hardest time I can tell you that.” He then wrapped up the segment by saying, “My pleasure… Hug ’em, love ’em!”
Denzel Was Raised In A Pentecostal Home
Denzel was born in December 1954 to Lynne, who owned a beauty parlor and his father, Denzel Washington Sr., who worked at the New York City Water Department, and at an S. Klein On The Square Department Store. He was also an ordained Pentecostal minister.
On the matter of giving his mother a hard time, Denzel revealed in an interview with Parade magazine back in 1999. “When I was 14, my mother sent me away to private school in upstate New York, and that decision changed my life, because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going,” he said.
“The guys I was hanging out with at the time, my running buddies, have now done maybe 40 years combined in the penitentiary,” he continued. “They were nice guys, but the streets got them. I had that Pentecostal foundation and a mother who used to say, ‘Son, you never know who’s praying for you.’ So maybe it wasn’t my fate to fall into those traps.”
Just about a lifetime later, Denzel can see the same mother-son bond manifest between Pauletta and his first-born son, fellow actor John David Washington.